Thursday, July 06, 2006

That Magic Ratio

The untimely death of Rocketboom presents a perfect opportunity to bring up something else that should die...

It's actually something that Rocketboom killed a few months ago...

And it's perhaps the most "old media" thing you can think of.

And there's NO functional reason that we stick with it.

But all of us do...

It's 1.33:1 a.k.a. 320x240 a.k.a. the sorriest aspect ration ever invented.

Why? Because it's stagnant and claustrophobic. It takes the passion and beauty out of a frame.

But most importantly it's not what we see with our eyes.

Editing works in film and video because it mimics what our eyes do... if you glance to your left, and then look at something different on your right, your eyelids will shut in between, creating a cut.

Wider aspect ratios like 16x9 (HD), 1.81:1 (regular film), 2:1 (widescreen), etc do a better job of imitating our eyes, and that means we respond better to what's presented on screen.

In broadband video, our only limitations are the limits of our cameras... and since we're mostly downrezzing (producing finished online videos that are at a lower resolution than we're shooting them at), that's really not a limitation either.

For starters, we should begin using 16x9 as a default. It's just soooo much prettier.

So why do Apple's new iPod designs show absolutely no hint of a better ratio?


Anonymous Robert Bruce said...

Love this Adam, just one of those things that I need guys like you to point out.

I've made the switch to 16X9 on photos and video, you're right, MUCH prettier.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Adam Elend said...

Right on! Glad we've got another convert. I wrote this post as I was finding a solution for a client who refused to change their player to accommodate our 16x9 video.

We ended up creating a scroll bar below the video, like on cnn. An inelegant solution to a problem that never should have been.

3:09 PM  

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